The Power of Addiction: Maxie’s Struggle

Have you tripped and fallen into the rabbit hole of addiction? It can get pretty scary, rather quickly! Addiction engulfs your mind and body digging deeper regardless of the humiliating and devastating consequences.  There are many theories explaining how addiction develops, but that isn’t the purpose of this story. Here, we will focus on how one young girl maintained her addiction, the struggles she faced and how she overcame them.

This is the story of a girls named Maxie.  She got absorbed by behaviors which at first seemed harmless, even fun, but quickly got out of control.  Then, in the blink of an eye, she got addicted and found herself in a downward spiral dragging her down and into the cycle of addiction.  Once addicted, she was stuck. She never thought it would happen to her. She struggled for a few years and received a few bumps on her head before finally realizing something had to change. Keep reading to find out what changed and how she was able to get out of the rabbit hole and started living a sober life.

Maxie, a shy and quiet high school student, didn’t have too many friends.  Maxie endlessly desired to fit in and be a part of the group. She hoped to be invited to a party but never was.  Maxie’s lonely days changed her junior year. Finally, she was invited to a party. Maxie was excited. She planned her party outfit and rehearsed different scenarios in her mind, on how that night would unfold. The night arrived and to her surprise it was nothing she had imagined.   Everyone was drinking. They didn’t seem to be themselves.

A friend offered her a drink. Maxie thought about the consequences but how could she say no? She had yearned to fit in and have friends. She was finally at a party and socializing. Maxie eagerly accepted the first drink and then some. Maxie’s fears drowned in the alcohol, one after another.  Maxie felt confident and quickly became the life of the party. She transformed into an outgoing, friendly and even flirtatious teen. She felt a sense of belonging.  Her life changed after that night. Shy Maxie? Never again.

Maxie continued partying and drinking through her high school and college.  There was always a good reason to go out and of course, have a drink.  Her alcohol tolerance increased. With time, she needed more alcohol to feel “good” and fit in.”  More and more each time, she drank till she blacked out. Maxie was unable to remember all the fun she had. There had to be a solution to this!

Yes, a she found a helpful solution.  A friend gave her cocaine to level out. Cocaine allowed her to drink more and for longer periods of time without the obnoxious black outs. This reminded her of junior year and her first party. Again, she felt confident, she was unstoppable.

Maxie immediately was hooked on cocaine. Together, alcohol and cocaine helped her avoid emotions surrounding the shy, quiet, lonely girl.  Then like with alcohol, her tolerance for cocaine increased. She needed more to make the feeling last. Drink after drink, bump after bump, it was never enough for Maxie.  She needed more, it kept her confidence high. Fun turned into a constant battle for more.

The excessive amount of alcohol and cocaine caused Maxie to react aggressively. Outings usually turned into verbal disagreements and sometimes even into fist fights. Maxie argued with everyone around her for minimal reasons. She wasn’t the life of the party any longer. Maxie’s “friends” stopped inviting her to parties. No one wanted to deal with her attitude. Her friends stopped calling her. Maxie did not understand why her friends avoided her, if she was so much fun to be around. She was filled with confusion, why?

Maxie, the shy girl who desperately longed to fit in felt sad and lonely. First, she blamed her friends and those around her. “It’s not me, it’s them.” Then, she tried to convince herself she was better off alone. “I don’t need them!”  She tried to convince herself but it was difficult to get rid of how depressed and hopeless she felt. But wait! There was one thing that made Maxie ‘feel better,’ alcohol. So, she drank thinking that would be the solution. It’s interesting how our minds help us in the worse times.

Drinking eased her pain, temporarily. She drank then felt worse, the following day. Day after day, she drank and drank more, to numb the pain. It was unbearable to get out of bed. Every morning she took a drink to get out of bed. Some days, she arrived on time to work and most days she was late. It wasn’t easy keeping herself together during work. Her work performance decreased. Coworkers noticed her changes in mood and tiredness. Eventually, Maxie was fired for excessive tardiness and sick days.  Again, she created excuses; they were exploiting her and treating her unfairly she explained. She drank more to alleviate the pain and loneliness.
By age 21, Maxie had no friends, no meaningful intimate relationship, and no employment. Even worse, she was in denial.   Maxie was in a vicious cycle and continued to make excuses. She tried hard to get her life together but drinking always interfered and brought her down. As Maxie’s life became more and more meaningless, she got deeper and deeper in to the addiction cycle.

Blaming, justifying and avoidance produced predictable results; results contrary to what Maxie wanted deep inside her heart.  These ineffective behaviors make difficult situations worse. The deeper one gets into the cycle of addiction, the more depressed, ashamed and numb one feels. Imagine falling into a rabbit hole and just digging deeper and deeper. You try to climb out but fall back in. You try to jump out and never get high enough to pull yourself out. Then finally it hit her. The way she was digging wasn’t leading anywhere and realized something had to change.

With the help of a STOPP counselor, Maxie became aware of long learned behaviors that kept her stuck and worked daily on changing. She connected with her values and learned how to manage her emotions, one day at a time. She accepted there were going to be good days and bad days and how to be patient and compassionate with herself. Today, Maxie is in college pursuing a bachelor’s degree, she is employed and sober.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and are willing to turn their life around, Borinquen’s Behavioral Health STOPP program can help.  One of the experienced STOPP counselors can help you start on the pathway to recovery. Like Maxie, you can stand up and face whatever is holding you down.

Author: Carmen Pineiro,LMHC

I am experienced in counseling individual's suffering from depression, anxiety, substance use, as well as those having relationship issues, and low self -esteem. My particular area of interest is with the LGBT community and those diagnosed with HIV.
In the therapy room, my first goal is to listen carefully to the individual sitting in front of me creating a supportive and comfortable environment to freely express themselves. Together, we will set goals for therapy and plan what will be accomplished in our sessions.  Your feedback is encouraged as this is the best tool to know if your goals are being met and progress is being made.

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